Be sure to watch the Gratitude Video at the end
According to Barry Schwartz, a professor at the University of California (Berkeley) and author of the book The Paradox of Choice, social comparison often creates envy and envy quickly makes people miserable.
Human beings have a character flaw that is hardwired into us thanks to evolution.
They tend to look at others and compare themselves to those others.
If the other person has a bigger house, nicer car, more money, etc. this creates envy.
Envy is a negative emotion that causes unhappiness.
Comparing yourself to others, as so many of us do on social media, only creates a feeling of ‘missing out’. ‘My life is not as good as theirs’ ‘I have FOMO – a fear of missing out!’
This is seen across the board in human behaviour. Not just in the space of weight loss.
Since comparing ourselves to others is a hardwired, human character flaw, the key then is to shift your comparison from those who have more to those who are less fortunate.
This eliminates the negative emotion of envy from rearing its ugly head and instead produces the positive emotion of gratitude.
Gratitude creates positive feelings about our lives and is the gateway to a positive mental outlook.
So, the next time you find yourself staring at a huge home or expensive car, instead turn away and replace your visual with a home smaller than yours or a jalopy of a car.
You’ll notice almost immediately the feeling of gratitude replaces the feeling of envy.
But How do I develop a practice of Gratitude?
Developing the practice of Gratitude is like developing any other skill.
How did you learn to cycle or write or drive a car? With practice.
In a similar way, the art of practising gratitude is a skill. And it can be developed.
People who wrote in a Gratitude Journal weekly for 10 weeks or daily for two weeks experienced more gratitude, positive moods, and optimism about the future, as well as better sleep, compared to those who journaled about hassles or their daily life.
How to Do It
There’s no wrong way to keep a gratitude journal, but here are some general instructions as you get started.
Write down up to five things for which you feel grateful. The physical record is important—don’t just do this exercise in your head. The things you list can be relatively small in importance (“The tasty sandwich I had for lunch today.”) or relatively large (“My sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy”). The goal of the exercise is to remember a good event, experience, person, or thing in your life—then enjoy the good emotions that come with it.
As you write, here are eight important tips:
1.Be as specific as possible—specificity is key to fostering gratitude. “I’m grateful that my co-workers brought me soup when I was sick on Tuesday” will be more effective than “I’m grateful for my co-workers.”
2. Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular person or thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
3. Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
4. Try subtraction, not just addition. Consider what your life would be like without certain people or things, rather than just tallying up all the good stuff. Be grateful for the negative outcomes you avoided, escaped, prevented, or turned into something positive—try not to take that good fortune for granted.
5. See good things as “gifts.” Thinking of the good things in your life as gifts guards against taking them for granted. Try to relish and savour the gifts you’ve received.
6. Savour surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
7. Revise if you repeat. Writing about some of the same people and things is OK, but zero in on a different aspect in detail.
8. Write regularly. Whether you write daily or every other day, commit to a regular time to journal, and then honour that commitment.
Watch this Video on Gratitude. It truly touched my heart!